A Permanent Solution for Tooth Loss
Dental implants are a great way to replace one or more missing teeth, providing a fixed solution from having removable bridges, partials, or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability as they’re made to integrate with your natural jawbone.
Made of biocompatible titanium, dental implants act as tooth roots that provide stimulation to your bone and support for a crown or denture piece. This natural-looking treatment helps enhance a patient’s appearance while also restoring their health.
A Good Candidate for Dental Implants
Dental implants are strong, stable, and durable and are designed to last a lifetime with proper oral care and continuous dental visits. When you visit Dr. Smith for your consultation, he’ll help determine if you’re a viable candidate for dental implants. Generally, a good candidate includes anyone who wants to:
- Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
- Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
- Boost a patient’s confidence to smile.
- Improve chewing, speech, and digestion.
- Restore and enhance facial tissues and structure.
- Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What Does the Implant Process Involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits to our Santa Cruz dental office over several months. Here’s how it typically goes:
- Your Consultation: Digital x-rays and impressions are taken of your jaw and teeth to determine bone density, gum tissue, and spacing available for a dental implant.
- Placing Your Implants: While the area is numb, your implant will be surgically placed into the bone. This may take up to six months for the area to completely heal and integrate.
- Potential Second Surgery: Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants, the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
- Healing Period: After several weeks of healing your crown or denture are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Several fittings may be required, so this step can take one to two months to complete.
- Restoration Placement: After a healing period, your restoration is securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort for your new smile.
Dr. Smith will provide you with care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.
Frequently Asked Questions
The majority of patients report feeling discomfort, not pain. During the surgery, you’ll be under local anesthesia and won’t feel a thing. Dr. Smith will closely monitor you throughout the entire treatment to ensure you’re pain-free and comfortable.
Following the operation, you’ll experience some discomfort, but it can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and a cold compress to help with swelling.
When the surgery is complete you’ll treat your dental implant just like your natural teeth. It doesn’t require any extra maintenance. It’s vital that you carry out your regular oral hygiene routine– brushing twice a day and flossing daily and be careful to avoid the surgical site.
Be sure to attend your follow-up appointment and schedule regular checkups and cleanings at our Santa Cruz location for optimal results. In addition to following any recommendations by Dr. Smith, you’ll want to follow a few simple steps following the surgery to ensure proper healing without complications. These include:
- Avoid hot foods
- Refrain from exercising
- Eat soft foods – chew away from the surgical site
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Avoid drinking through a straw
- Refrain from tobacco use
- Take over-the-counter pain medications as prescribed
- Use a cold compress to help with swelling and discomfort
If enough jawbone is present, you can potentially get the dental implant the same day. However, we may want you to wait three to six months after an extraction for a dental implant to be placed. This allows time for the area to fully heal.
You’ll want to get your dental implant within the recommended time frame. This will ensure that you don’t experience bone loss following the healing process. This may require an additional procedure prior to getting a dental implant.
Dental implants are considered a cosmetic procedure with some restorative purposes as well and your provider may cover a portion of the expenses. We suggest checking with them prior to your appointment for a better understanding of your specific coverage.
If you have any questions that we can answer, don’t hesitate to contact our office by calling (831) 462-5600 and a knowledgeable team member will get back to you soon.
Schedule Your Implant Consultation Today
Don’t live without a complete, beautiful smile any longer. With dental implants, Dr. Smith can help boost your confidence, restore your health, and improve basic oral functions like eating or speaking.
Give our Santa Cruz office a call at (831) 462-5600 to schedule an appointment, or simply fill out one of our convenient contact forms below.